Friday, November 30, 2012

I'll Show You Mine

Hey guys, my FOO looked like yours, right?

If all anyone had to compare our families was one photograph - one snapshot - chances are good no one would realize that there was such a huge difference between mine and yours. But the real truth is that I consider myself one of the lucky few, because the more I see of the world around me, the more I've come to realize that most families are not so peaceful, not so loving, not so considerate, honest or compassionate as mine. It would be remiss of me to say that we don't have problems too; that there hasn't ever nor will there ever be strife and sadness or varying levels of dysfunction, but like any structure with a strong foundation, the Jonsi FOO is generally a resourceful, empathetic, and tough lot of people who (mostly) find their way Home at the end of the day. There are always exceptions, but overall, my family is one of the most-resilient I have ever seen.

My dear friend Jessie, who blogs at Releasing Jessie, recently wrote a post that inspired me to write about my FOO in an effort to try to answer some of the questions she asked there: What does a healthy family look like? What does a healthy sibling relationship look like? How supportive are you supposed to be? When do you know it's enough? When do you think it's too little? How do you have a close family without being enmeshed? What does a healthy relationship with siblings or parents look like? What kinds of things can be encouraged between one's own children? And what should be avoided?

Phew! Great questions, which I'm going to try to tackle over the next few weeks with vignettes about what my FOO looked like when I was growing up and what it looks like now. I've been struggling the past few days to come up with a way to do that: to illustrate as precisely as possible what my family-dynamic looked like and how it came to look that way. I've started and stopped this process several times now because it doesn't seem so easy to explain how it is that I inherently and confidently know that my FOO fell into the "healthy" category. I suppose I'll start off on this attempt with the following thought: If I was approached by a complete stranger who wanted to know what made my FOO so vastly different from DH's FOO, I would begin by telling them that unlike DH's, the members of my family unit were honest; my parents told the truth, both to each other and to their children. And unlike DH's, the members of my family upheld basic principles of respect and consideration. Not only did we learn boundaries from a young age, but we were also taught that we could effectively say "no" to anyone who did not respect ours. I would tell this hypothetical stranger that my mother came from a long line of strong, empowered, and genuinely loving people, who left a legacy to be proud of, rather than one worthy of shame and sadness. I would also tell her that my father came from a background of severe dysfunction, having a father himself who was emotionally abusive even before he was diagnosed with schizophrenia after serving in WWI and a mother who, though loving, didn't know what the fuck she was doing and spent her entire life fucking her kids up. I have seen, firsthand, how difficult it is to overcome dysfunction because my own father has been fighting it his whole life. Both my mother and her side of the family and my father, in general, value honesty and self-worth; compassion and intelligence, self-respect and fortitude. WE, the Jonsie-Foos, are a group of people who tend to avoid drama, to live in Truth, and who have a very real and genuine desire to pass down to the next generation a similar sense of respect and unconditional love: for themselves, for each other, and for the world around them.

In the picture [removed], I am struck by the emotional-closeness I feel when I look at the image of me and my brothers, even though our relationship now is not what it was when the picture was taken. I don't remember the date but my guess is that the picture was taken on Easter morning when I was probably about seven (and my brothers were about thirteen, eight, and four, respectively). Each Christmas and Easter, we lined up in the hallway so my mother could take a picture of us before we'd rush out into the living room to find our Easter baskets or tear into our Christmas presents. I liked this particular picture, in part because we were all looking at the camera at the same time and not making goofy faces for a change, but also because that was a time in my life when I felt close to my younger brother. We played together a lot at that age, and we got along pretty well. I used to read to him before we'd go to bed most nights, and that continued on until I was thirteen or fourteen, not every night and only ever because we wanted to, not because someone made us do it. Maybe that's why my hand is resting gently on him in this particular photo - it was just a natural expression of our comfort with each other at that point; the bond that we had shared, that was fostered by our parents but allowed to change and grow (or subside) as time passed.

I remember always being surprised when I'd meet new people and they'd be shocked, sometimes appalled (!) that I had three, yes THREE, brothers. They'd ask me if I had any siblings and I'd say, "Yes, three brothers." And they would say, "Three? My god! Do you have any sisters?" And I would say, "No." and think, "It's really not so bad, you know." There were a few times in my young life when I wanted more siblings, brothers or sisters would have been fine, thank you. I think it shocked people because most everyone always had so many PROBLEMS with their siblings - they had a love/hate relationship or their brothers beat up on them or they didn't get enough attention because their sibling was always vying for it. But my relationship with my brothers was mostly peaceful; we rarely had any physical altercations and those that were never consisted of more than a pinch, a light punch, or occasionally being sat on.  My oldest brother was known to torment and tease us most of the time (when he wasn't ignoring us anyway). I shared a room with my MB (middle brother) and LB (little brother) until I was eight, at which point I got to move into OB's room (because my parents had an addition built on the house so he could move upstairs and I could have my own room). We were not allowed to enter each other's bedrooms (or the bathroom) without knocking first or being invited in. We did not eat each other's food. We expressed physical love to each other only when we wanted to (hugs, kisses, etc...which I don't remember doing a whole lot of, though I'm sure we did when we were very small). We all had separate but equal chores to do around the house. We were expected to use manners with each other and with anyone we came in contact with. We had our own sets of friends, always. When we were old enough (probably when we started school) we had our own birthday parties with our own sets of friends (plus family parties, which our extended FOO and siblings were invited to). When one of us did something to the other that was considered unacceptable (hitting, name-calling, making encouraging remarks to get someone to pee down the stairs) Mom (or Dad, but mostly Mom) mete out punishment that pretty much always fit the crime. And yes - MB and I really did encourage LB to pee down the stairs. And LB really did it.

We didn't get into physical fights because it wasn't allowed. No one was allowed to hit, punch, kick, push, or pinch anyone else without expecting that there would be repercussions. As we got older, we had our own sets of toys and only had to share the ones that were considered communal. We were never, and I do mean never, expected to take care of or look out for our siblings, which contrary to popular belief, served to allow us an emotional closeness that most of the kids I knew couldn't fathom. We were each celebrated for our uniqueness. From the time we were toddlers, we were given age-appropriate choices in order to learn how to exercise our own right to make decisions: Two-year-old Jonsi, would you like to wear the blue or the pink shirt today? Eight-year-old Jonsi, your best friend is going to try playing softball, would you like to try that sport too? Eleven-year-old Jonsi, would you like to try wearing contact lenses? My entire life was peppered with decisions that I had never even been aware of, all of them serving to teach me that I had the intelligence and wherewithal to decide things for myself.

I don't remember much about OB when I was very young, say from the age of newborn to six, probably because he's six years older than me and we never had very much in common until I was in my late teens, and even then it was a stretch. He and I didn't become friends until just a few years ago, once I snapped out of the debilitating fantasy world I resided in for a while with my Narc-Ex, and I was well on my way toward true emotional adulthood. Even now, I'm much closer with his wife, whom I consider to be my best friend, than I am to him. My relationship with him is quite simple: we spend time together with each others' familys, we joke together and reminisce about childhood, we gently tease each other occasionally, and, well, that's about it. When I want someone to talk to, I call my best friend. Truth be told, I feel emotionally closer to her than I do to my brother, mainly because "emotional closeness" to me, equates to how often and the depth at which I communicate verbally with someone. And on the flipside, ever since I met DH, he and my brother have developed a close relationship of their own: by doing things together, side-by-side, generally mostly in relative silence. They go fishing together. They fabricate lures together. They occasionally have a couple of beers over a bonfire together. But for them, there isn't a whole lot of talking going on. I'm pretty sure that's foreign to DH, but I'm pretty sure that's how my brother has always bonded with his own friends - by sharing common interests together.

MB was adopted. He became a part of our clan when he was about three months old. My mother made a point to celebrate his adoption day every year, with a special dinner (usually at a restaurant of MB's choice) and a cake. His presence in our lives completely refutes the misused and misquoted phrase, "blood is thicker than water" because his kinship with us, in my opinion, was no less deep or sacred than the relationship biological siblings can have with each other. Genetically, he was not "one of us." But in his heart, he is and always will be. He was, quite literally, my brotha-from-anotha-motha.

And still, after all this, I don't think this post conveys just how different my family was and how different my familial relationships are than so many others out there. Let me put it this way: you know how I acknowledged that my relationship with my siblings is no longer what it was when that picture was taken? Neither I, nor any of my brothers have a problem with that. We all know that our problems are our own, that each of us is following our own chosen path, and that we can still share a bond with each other that no longer requires us to pose together in our parent's hallway for family portraits in our jammies. The first time OB opted to stay home while the rest of us went on a family vacation together (he was eighteen), I missed him but I understood that it was time for him to move on from that particular tradition, even though the rest of us weren't ready yet. When OB moved out to get an apartment with his (now wife), I had a pang of sadness because I knew he would no longer be there with us to open presents on Christmas morning or to drive me around occasionally in his supercool Camaro; but otherwise I had been prepped for it and knew it was "right." When he got married, I felt nothing but happiness for him as he started a new journey with a wonderful person who loved him just as much as he loved her. When I felt like I was losing my mind and any self-respect I might have had for myself because I was in an abusive relationship, each of my brothers reached out to me in their own way and on their own time. OB talked to me about it once, which was all he felt comfortable with and more than I ever could have required of him. When he saw that he couldn't help me because I didn't want the help, he did not offer his hand again until I asked for it. My mother never expected him to. MB reached out to me once too, on his own time and in a way that was different from OB's attempt. He too gave up when he saw I didn't want the help and no one, including me, blamed him. LB did the only thing he could do, and that was to express to my mother that he missed me. He was really too young at the time to have done much else. My relationship with him has not been the same since that time, in part because of the choices I made then, and moreso now because of the choices he is making which have little to do with me.

My brothers and I communicate with each other directly when we want to communicate - our parents NEVER play middle-man.

I can not ever remember one single instance when I felt guilted, shamed, or manipulated by my parents, extended family, or siblings.

My parents operated on a level of honesty unlike anything my husband and friends with narcissistic mothers have probably ever seen. My mom was and always will be a straight-shooter. She is the greatest example of Truth my two eyes have ever seen. My father, too, made a point to always tell the truth, in particular with regards to his FOO - I grew up hearing about his family and their dysfunctions, as well as my father's own dysfunctions - mostly from his own lips. I never questioned the truth of his words because I never had to. When we asked questions about his life, he answered them.

I never had to fear to be myself, and in fact had been developing my Self from the moment I was born because my parents evoked no sense of shame in me for being whoever and whatever I wanted to be. I was guided, never manipulated. I learned natural consequences for my misbehaviors and misdeeds. My parents' expectations were laid out, always, in a fair and concise way: the rules never changed and were always clearly expressed. Fear, Obligation, and Guilt were not a part of my life. That is what I hope to convey in the vignettes I would like to share with you: that I didn't grow up in a FOG and honesty was a way of life for us.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thank You

"It is so strange to me that my brother is literally a different person completely..and evil and insane and I will never talk to again."

-NSIL

Thank you, NSIL, for setting us free.

Rescuers

A dear friend sent this to me today, stating that it reminded her of what DH's FOO expects of him. In my opinion, it fits the dynamic between DH and NSIL well. [From Ruthless Compassion Institute]:

Rescuing another person is almost always doomed to backfire on both parties. Rescuing isn't at all the same thing as being helpful or kind. It's excessive, self-sacrificing & coming from a place of guilt, obligation, the need to please &/or the unconscious wish to be loved & healed through this act. The problem with rescuing is that the person being rescued, despite often really wanting to be taken care of, also resents being put in the one-down position & often can't help but leak their resentment onto the person who's being so good to them. This confuses the rescuer who then redoubles their efforts to please & care-take, which unfortunately only serves to make the rescued person feel that much more humiliated & resentful. At the same time, the rescuer can begin to feel their own resentment (even if the rescued person isn't leaking anger) as they're expending enormous amounts of energy, time & other resources in the act of rescuing without obtaining the emotional pay-off that they were expecting. They can begin to leak their own anger onto the person they're rescuing (all of this is an unconscious process, not deliberate) who then becomes extremely confused by their rescuer who's on the one hand, obviously devoted & self-sacrificing & on the other hand, snippy, sarcastic & passive-aggressive. Often, the outcome is that both parties end up hating each-other, whether or not they continue in this dynamic. The relationship can be ruptured, or it can continue in this mutually-resentful & unhappy co-dependency.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Those Who Cannot Change Their Minds, Cannot Change Anything

Official music video of Gollum's Song, the end credits song from The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, sung by Emiliana Torrini. Lyrics by Fran Walsh, music by Howard Shore.

Gollum/NSIL's Song
Where once was light
Now darkness falls
Where once was love
Love is no more
Don't say goodbye
Don't say I didn't try

These tears we cry
Are falling rain
For all the lies you told us
The hurt, the blame...
And we will weep to be so alone
We are lost
We can never go home

So in the end
I'll be what I will be
No loyal friend
Was ever there for me

Now we say goodbye
We say you didn't try

These tears you cry
Have come too late
Take back the lies
The hurt, the blame...

And you will weep
When you face the end alone
You are lost
You can never go home
You are lost
You can never go home

*Title credit: George Bernard Shaw

A Lost Cause

After a few weeks of silence, DH received a letter from his sister. At work, of course, since we all know that every one from his past tries to avoid me like the plague and it probably never would have crossed NSIL's diseased little mind to send it to our house. It was dated November 12, 2012, written on legal paper, and put in an envelope from the mental hospital in which NSIL stayed from November 6 - November 16. We have no idea why the letter took almost two weeks to get to it's destination - DH had it in his hands just as he was about to leave work on the 21st. In it, she made no reference to the letter that DH had sent to her, so at that point it still remained unclear whether she had ever received his correspondence.

Her letter read:

[Derivative of DH's name; not what she typically called him in the past],

I am currently in a mental hospital for attempted suicide. I figure you think I overdosed on drugs. I purposely took over 50 pills, mixed with a lot of alcohol, and slit my wrist. If not for a friend randomly stopping by, I would not have been found and would have died. I wanted to die, I really did. Wrote a letter and everything. I know part of you cares. Perhaps you noticed when we were younger that I had been struggling, mentally. I dealt with the [sic] bulimia until last year, when I began throwing up blood regularly. For years, I have dealt with depression. It increased greatly when you left. You left me alone. The depression the last 6 months has escalated. I got into every college I applied to. Graduated 30th with a 3.7. GPA. I went to [College] in [City]. My depression and anxiety overwhelmed me and I had to drop out. Mom and J were upset but supportive. Since that I've been in a downward spiral. No one understood me and no one [sic] that I felt like I could talk to. So I wanted to die. I was pretty close too. I am diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety. Everyone's brothers and sisters come to visit them here and it upsets me. Mom is constantly sad because you are gone and I am a disappointment and crazy. She cries all the time about you. I haven't, not once. I pretended you were dead. I tell people I am an only child. I miss terribly miss and need my big brother. You were my best friend. Would you even attend my funeral if I died? These are questions I ask. I even wrote in my suicide note that maybe my death would bring you back. I know there is still the old [DH's childhood nickname] in you. Think about our childhood. When I was born you wouldn't let anyone hold me. I need you to be there again.

- [NSIL] 

I'm going to start my analysis with the fact that NSIL sent this communication to DH at his office. As I mentioned, her effort to reach him smacks of secrecy and immediately reminded me of the rest of her FOO - always attempting to contact DH at work, in some cases when he has already specifically asked them not to, in other cases where any use of logic on their part would indicate that is NOT the way to go about getting in touch with him. (As we know, they aren't operating on all four-cylinders over there). As per usual, they all just want to circumvent Jonsi, in the hopes that they can divide and conquer and under the ever-present assumption that he's been trained well enough to keep things from me. NSIL's attempt to avoid me was as obvious as the rest of her family's prior attempts.

My thought is that this letter was part of her treatment plan during her stay at the mental health facility. I figure that, during the process of her intake there, she had given background information about her relationship (or lack-thereof) with her brother and the doctors working with her suggested that she write him a letter. Though I do sense that her letter is "real" in the sense that the feelings she describes in it seem genuine and that it is truly a place of very deep pain she writes from, I do wonder whether she would have written the letter at all if not for it being a requirement of her treatment. But whether she would have or not, the letter provided both DH and I with a concrete example of just how unhealthy his sister is and just how little hope she has of escaping the woman who's "love" is suffocating her to death.

When DH got the letter, he called me. My little ones were down for a nap so DH was able to open it and read it to me over the phone. When he got to the end of it, I told him I felt like I was going to cry, but I dove into my analysis anyway. I knew that this really wasn't my pain to bear, but the emotion just welled up inside of me anyway - I feel for this lonely, pitiful creature that DH's sister has been reduced to. I knew that, though her letter was full of guilt-tactics and manipulation and blame, she is also hurting and doesn't know how to fix it, any of it. And I felt for DH, who has to watch his sister drown, knowing he can't save her; who has been made their scapegoat; and who will probably never have a relationship with anyone from his FOO again. DH began to cry. He said, "I want to respond to this but not right now. I have to go." He hung up. I knew that he needed to respond, and that, in spite of my resolve to ignore these people, I had to let him.

That night, DH and I began drafting a response to her - with DH writing the main parts and myself adding analysis where needed. We worked on it together, wrote it together. The final result ended up a pretty fair mixture of my words and his, and I see no shame in that. In the days that followed his receipt of the letter, I spoke with my very dear friend, Upsi, and borrowed some key phrases from her that I thought fit in well with the message we wanted to convey. We edited it over and over again, clipping phrases, making changes, and rearranging paragraphs until it looked right. Sounded right. I knew, and I think DH knew, that was very likely to be the last time he would ever get to communicate with her and we both wanted it to be clear. And it was. And the more we worked on it, the angrier I became. DH will likely be posting his own thoughts and feelings on his blog when he has time, so I will speak for myself and say that as the hours wore on, nearly all of my pity for the girl was replaced with anger. Hatred, even. And I know I will have to let that go, it is already slipping away. But at it's height, I felt such hatred for this bitch who had tried to emotionally gut MY husband. I can only hope that NSIL will see DH's response to her letter. And I can't say I would feel particularly upset if NMIL saw it too, if all those fuckers saw it. Behold, DH's response: 


NSIL,

I received your letter dated November 12, 2012 today.   I’ve included with this letter the information I sent to you in a letter on November 5 and again in an e-mail November 18 because I have no idea if you got it.  I care about you and your well-being. I want you to have a better life.

I did not abandon you.  You were not mine to abandon. I have a family and they are my priority. I will not drop my wife and children to be your white knight.

If you are looking for someone to blame, start with your manipulative, controlling, fake, conniving mother.  She cheated on your father.  She lies to everyone she knows.  She called us names as kids.  Your mother taught you that your value lies in your looks alone.  She is the root cause of your emotional and eating disorders.  If you’re willing to consider that your mother is the enemy, then you will begin to see how fucked up she really is.  Then take a long look at yourself.  Do some genuine self-reflection.  I am not to blame for where your life is or where it is headed and I refuse to take responsibility for your feelings, our mother’s feelings, her choices, your choices.  I refuse to take responsibility for your feelings of abandonment.  I have made a choice to leave the unhealthy environment we both came from and have found a new, healthier way of living.  I am happy.  Do not blame me for your depression.  Do not blame me for your loneliness.  Do not blame me for the fact that you don’t feel understood.  Do not blame me for your emotional issues.  Do not blame me for your attempted suicide.  If you are telling yourself that I am dead and telling other people that you are an only child, then you are not living in reality.  It’s unfortunate for you that you feel you NEED your big brother to survive.  I will not have your blood on my hands.

You do not have to feel alone.  I once surrounded myself with hundreds of people too, hoping that in doing so, I would feel loved.  In reality, they were all parasites who did not love or care about me at all.  All they cared about was what I could do for them.  You are still surrounded by the people I got away from.  And that’s your choice. 

You want to talk about Mommie’s feelings?  Let’s talk about how I’ve never seen the sadness you wrote about.  Let’s talk about how she acts as though nothing has happened, like how she’s never done a goddamn thing wrong, like she never cheated on J, like she didn’t try to destroy my marriage, like she’s going to see me tomorrow.  She isn’t.  Those tears you say she cries all the time are crocodile tears.  They are fake.  They are a lie.  They are used to manipulate you into feeling badly for her.  Her sadness is no more real than your happiness.  It is not your fault if your mother is sad.  You are not responsible for her feelings.  Neither am I.  I will not tolerate her behaviors.  I will never have a relationship with her again.

“I even wrote in my suicide note that maybe my death would bring you back.” Are you saying that you were willing to kill yourself to make your mother happy?  Do you realize how fucked up that is?  Are you saying that you think it would make her happier to have me back even if you were dead?  That doesn’t make you question her motives?   Our mother would sacrifice one of her children for the other, has pitted us against each other, and has used us both for her own sick gain.  

-OR- was the suicide attempt itself a tactic of manipulation in which you were planning not to die, so that I would come back to rescue you and save you from a crisis.  Because, I don’t see how it would benefit you if I came back and you were dead.  The way I see it, either you want me to abandon my family and come save you, or, you are willing to sacrifice yourself to fix your mother’s problems.  Either way, you need the kind of help I can’t give you.

I cannot be there in the way you want me to.  I cannot save you.  You have to save yourself.  Even if I was willing to do what you are asking me to do, even if I was willing to be your possession, your big toy, your [DH's childhood nickname], that would not fix your problems.  I cannot fix your problems.  I choose not to be enmeshed with our mother any longer.  I have done a lot of research.  I am in therapy and will be for a long time because I am dealing with the severe emotional abuse I suffered at her hand as well as the unhealthy behaviors she passed down to us.

You want to know why you haven’t cried about me?  Because you are living in a kind of denial that will eventually destroy you. 

[DH's childhood nickname] is gone.  [DH's childhood nickname] was the part of me that lied and manipulated.  [DH's childhood nickname] was the part of me that was superficial, selfish, that chose to brush problems under the rug.  [DH's childhood nickname] was the part of me that was secretive, and pretended to forget in order to avoid consequences and accountability for my actions.  These behaviors are parts of you too and they came from our mother; she taught us to live that way, by living that way herself.  I will never be [DH's childhood nickname] again.  I am living in Truth.  For your sake, let [DH's childhood nickname] go.

You may have seen me as your best friend but it was because we were dealing with a very toxic situation together, rather than because that’s what healthy siblings do.  Our relationship with each other was warped.  By our mother.  But now you’re an adult.  Take responsibility for the fact that you’ve never reached out to me in a meaningful way.

If you want my advice: Create as much physical distance as possible between yourself and everyone else that you’ve ever known, especially your mother.  Take time to assess the emotional abuses you have suffered.  Get a job, save some money, and rent a place of your own.  Become self-reliant.  Get a new support system, find a therapist, and create the [NSIL] you want to be.  Or don’t, and live the way you’ve always lived.  The choice is yours.  I’ve made mine already.

The information I’ve attached to this letter could be life-changing for you if you’re willing to accept reality.

I have already asked your mother and her side of the family not to contact me.  It is not appropriate for you to send correspondence or to contact me at work.  It is not acceptable.  If you have any interest in communicating with me further, you must send a letter to my house, otherwise I will not be responding.  [NSIL], get help, get real, then we can talk.

- DH

And, for the first time ever, I decided to make my voice heard because I wanted NSIL to know that DH will no longer be her secret keeper and, more than that, that the bond he has with me can not be broken, no matter how hard she tries to pretend that I don't exist. I wrote, 

[NSIL],

It is unfortunate you never took the time to get to know me. If you have been looking to find someone who wants to understand, you might have found it in me. I am not un-empathetic to your pain and I have never wanted to add to it.

In spite of the lies you have chosen to believe, I am not your enemy. If you would accept reality long enough to acknowledge that [DH] & I are happy together, and that we have a family of our own, you may get the opportunity to see that for yourself.

I love [DH]. And I want you know that his love for me & his children does not mean he stopped loving you.

He didn't leave you.

He married me.

In Truth,

Jonsi

DH put his letter and mine in an envelope. He also once again included his original letter and the list of Characteristics of Narcissistic Mothers. He brought it to the post office on November 23, 2012 and mailed it certified mail requesting return receipt. He also once again sent an email to the only email address he knew of that she had. Our (yes our) email read: 

From: Email address we created just to communicate with NSIL
To: NSIL's still active email address
Date: Friday, November 23, 2012 @ 9:15 AM
Subject: Finally received your letter

NSIL,

I finally received your letter dated the 12th two days ago (Wednesday the 21st). I have a response for you that I put in the mail today. If you want me to send it to you via email, let me know and I will. I've tried several times to communicate with you in writing but I still have no idea if you have gotten anything.

- DH

That day, I also got the brilliant (I thought) idea to send NSIL an anonymous text, using textem.net (it really works, we tested it on my cellphone first) to let her know he had received her letter and had put a response in the mail. In that text, he wrote, "It’s your brother – finally got your letter. Sent response in mail today. Check [email address] and FB messages."

Within moments of sending that anonymous text message, she responded to DH's email:

From: NSIL
To: DH
Date: Friday, November 23, 2012 @ 7:49 PM
Subject: Re: Finally received your letter

I have never gotten anything ever. Did you send it to [address of NMIL's house-for-sale]

-NSIL

We (yes we) responded:

From: DH
To: NSIL
Date: Friday, November 23, 2012 @ 7:52 PM
Subject: Re: Re: Finally received your letter

Yes, I did. I sent my original letter to [Hospital] on the fifth. Then I asked them that if you had been discharged to forward it to [address of NMIL's house-for-sale]. It was also sent to this email address on November 18.

-DH

From there, things quickly took an abrupt turn that neither DH nor I expected. Upon getting a response from DH's email, NSIL immediately shot herself in the god damned foot be tweeting, "Communicating with my brother for the first time in two years..." thereby ensuring that everyone from her entire world would know that a move had been played. And then, after that? Nothing. And I do mean nothing. She has since thrown out a few popcorn-farts into the wind; a couple of very vague, passive-aggressive, possibly indirect references to DH, but other than that we have heard NOTHING. No response to his last email asking for more. No further questions. No request to see the letters he had written. Just radio-silence. Less than one half hour after making the declaration that the long-awaited contact with her brother had finally occurred, she tweeted, "juicy suits and ugg fur boots #princessprobs." And ever since that strategically-placed ever-so-vapid comment, she has gone back to denying her life away.

My thoughts? She has chosen to ignore DH the way she feels she has been ignored. I don't think she realizes that she has either DH and I as an audience and so I do believe that what she is tweeting is not being edited with us in mind. I believe that she has openly declared who's "side" she is on, and it's not DH's. I think that she has already begun to solidify the lies that will make her look like the good guy: that it was HER, and not DH who made the first contact; that SHE has been the one to "honestly" communicate, when she has in fact done the opposite and chosen not to have a dialog with him; that DH is the one who is lying and being cruel, when in fact it has been her. 

All I can say is, if she didn't like the first letter he sent (which we now know she received, as was proven when she responded from the same email address that DH sent his original letter to one week ago) she sure as hell ain't gonna like the second one. Or the one that I included.

And personally? I'm hoping that NMIL reads it too. Because I'm glad I've finally gotten a chance to make my voice heard; and that DH has so openly and honestly conveyed the following messages:

- that he will never again have a relationship with his suffocating narcissistic mother
- that he can access the anger required to break away, once and for all, from their toxicity
- that no matter what happens with his sister in the future, whether or not she ends up succeeding in the attempt she made on her life the first time, he will not be a part of her life.

NSIL is a lost cause for us. I know that I may now be seen as unreliable because in two of my previous posts, I declared how "done" I was with NSIL, but for the last time I will say: Our case of the "one more times" is over. NSIL, as she is now, is a hopeless undertaking. We have wrapped her up and stored her away in the same room as all the other narcissists from DH's past, where we'll be able to observe them safely from our side of the two-way, unbreakable mirror. I will move on quicker than DH will because I don't need to observe them in order to come to terms with my own dysfunctions, as DH has to. And with a lot of patience and practice DH and I will maintain that distance. Forever. Because we will no longer be putting our efforts into worthless pursuits: like trying to save suicidal sisters or communicate with power-hungry sharks. Instead, we are once again re-focusing on our marriage, on our family. These past few weeks have taken far too much of our precious energy away and it's time now, once and for all, to get back on track.

NSIL is toast. As far as I'm concerned, she can have her narc-mommie. They deserve each other.